How To Calculate The Percentage Change In Excel

Calculating percentage change in Excel is a common task that can be incredibly useful for analyzing data and making informed decisions. Whether it’s tracking sales performance, analyzing financial data, or evaluating trends, understanding how to calculate percentage change in Excel is a valuable skill to have. In this article, I’ll guide you through the process of calculating percentage change in Excel, sharing my own tips and insights along the way.

Understanding Percentage Change

Before diving into the technical aspects, let’s make sure we’re on the same page about what percentage change actually is. Percentage change is a way to express a change in a variable as a percentage of its original value. It’s often used to compare the relative change between two values over time.

Calculating Percentage Change

To calculate the percentage change between two values in Excel, you can use the following formula:

=(New Value - Old Value) / ABS(Old Value) * 100

Let’s break this down:

  • New Value: This is the most recent value you want to compare.
  • Old Value: This is the original or previous value.
  • ABS(): This function returns the absolute value of a number, ensuring that the percentage change is always positive.

Applying the Formula in Excel

To demonstrate, let’s say we have the old value in cell A1 and the new value in cell B1. We would enter the formula in a different cell, such as C1, as follows:

=(B1 - A1) / ABS(A1) * 100

This formula will calculate the percentage change between the old and new values and display the result as a percentage.

Formatting the Result

By default, Excel displays decimal numbers as the result of the percentage change formula. To format the result as a percentage, you can use the “Percentage” number format, which can be found in the “Number” group on the Home tab.

Using Percentage Change in Analysis

Understanding how to calculate percentage change in Excel opens up a world of possibilities for data analysis. Whether you’re tracking stock performance, monitoring website traffic, or evaluating project progress, percentage change can provide valuable insights into trends and performance over time.


Mastering the art of calculating percentage change in Excel is an essential skill for anyone working with data. By understanding the formula and its application, you can add a powerful tool to your data analysis toolbox. So, the next time you need to compare values and track changes, you’ll be well-equipped to do so with confidence.